The Twins’ slumbering offense finally woke up on Friday, cracking five home runs on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays for a 9-3 win.
The Blue Jays are a good-hitting team, and it appeared the shootout was on after the two teams combined for seven runs through three innings. But after Twins starter Chi Chi Gonzalez stepped aside, the bullpen pitched no-hit baseball the rest of the way to cool those Canadian bats.
Meanwhile, the Twins poured it on getting two home runs apiece from Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda, plus a fifth from Byron Buxton, his team-leading 12th dinger of the season. Buck, Garlick and Miranda accounted for eight of the Twins’ 12 hits.
The win went to reliever Jharel Cotton, who was especially good. Cotton was called on in the fifth inning with no outs and two inherited runners. And yet he showed off what appeared to be a very effective changeup to strike out two over two innings.
Dylan Bundy gets the ball Saturday against old friend Jose Berrios.
-The Twins needed a win after struggling against the Detroit Tigers. They are 31-23 after Friday’s win and 4-6 in their last 10 games. They still have a 4.5 game lead over the second-place Cleveland Guardians.
-No fooling: Garlick hits lefties well. He has a career batting average of .231, but against left-handed pitching he is slashing .260/.314/.567 with 12 home runs.
-The Twins had to call up a number of players from Triple-A St. Paul because the club has some unvaccinated players who were not allowed to travel to Canada. They are Max Kepler, Emilio Pagan, Caleb Thielbar and Trevor Megill.
-The pandemic has also been felt in the Twins radio booth, meaning play-by-play guy and ex-Twin Dan Gladden has been paired with some new voices of late. Ex-Twin Tim Laudner filled in, followed by former Twins closer Glen Perkins. Laudner and Gladden seemed to be too busy taking shots at each other, but there was real rapport between Perk and the Cupertino Kid, I thought.
-Gladden shared an interesting anecdote about when the Twins and Blue Jays met in the 1991 American League Championship Series. Gladden said Twins manager Tom Kelly outcoached the Jays’ Cito Gaston, including in Game 3 of the series. Gaston called on right-handed reliever Mike Timlin while TK countered with left-handed hitting third baseman and pinch hitter Mike Pagliarulo. Pags hit a pinch hit home run in the top of the 10th and the Twins held on for the 3-2 win. The Twins won the ALCS 4-1 and then the World Series, 4-3.